ASRock ION 330 NetTop - Installation, Setup and Info.

Article Index
ASRock ION 330 NetTop
Features and Specifications
Closer Look in the NetTop
Installation, Setup and Info.
Subsystem Tests and More
Benchmarking Continued...
HD Video and Final Thoughts
 

Installation:

If you've ever purchased a pre-built system, you're no doubt aware that they come pre-installed with some operating system or another.  Setup is as simple as entering a user name, password and configuring the network and you're done.  The ASRock ION 330 is a little different than that however as it ships without any operating system installed at all.  For our review, we thought we'd use Windows 7 as it is said to be fast - even on low powered machines such as the NetTop from ASRock.  This is where an optical drive really is handy.  Most people will need a disk to install Windows or Linux on their new hardware and I was glad that I didn't have to find a USB DVDRW and try and boot from that.


On more powerful desktop hardware, Windows 7 can easily be installed in 20 minutes or less.  However, the ASRock ION 330 is not quite as powerful as that and it took exactly 28 minutes to have Windows 7 installed and up and running.  I was glad to see that all hardware was supported with default Microsoft drivers, but we went ahead and installed proper chipset, graphics, and sound card drivers before we started testing.

 

System Info:

Once we had Windows 7 installed and updated, it was time to take a look at some of the hardware according to CPU-Z and GPU-Z.

 CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
 CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
     
 CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z SPD
 CPU-Z Graphics
CPU-Z Graphics
 GPU-Z
GPU-Z

 

Even though this Atom 330 processor is a dual-core CPU, it still suffers from the 533FSB bottleneck as well as the mere 1MB of L2 cache that is reported in CPU-Z.  You can see that the BIOS is currently running the latest version and the chipset is in fact the B1 revision. The default memory speed is 400MHz (DDR2-800), but in the image above, you can see that we have it running 930MHz as this screenshot was taken from our overclocking attempts. The memory included is from Nanya and is only rated at DDR2-800 at CL5, but we managed to push it a bit further - without upping the voltage.  There is 256MB of memory dedicated to the GPU and this should give the little machine 25.6GB/sec of memory bandwidth.  This sounds like a pretty decent GPU solution and we'll see how it holds up on the following pages.  The big drawback will be the 64-bit bus, but at least it supports DX10 and Shader Model 4.0.

 

Overclocking:

Another feature of the ASRock ION 330 NetTop that impressed me was that ASRock included their overclocking utility.  I'm not sure how many people will use this, but we managed to get a  solid 1.86GHz out of the machine and that made our cheap DDR2-800 Nanya memory run at 930MHz.  Overall performance improved slightly and the system was still rock-stable for day when overclocked.

 CPU-Z Overclocked
CPU-Z Overclocked

 

I'm sure that with proper cooling and by increasing the voltage, a person would be able to get more out of the overclocking, but at this setting, it ran stable and once we hit 160MHz FSB, it would fail a test after a little over an hour.

 

Test System Info:

As we don't really have anything to compare the ASRock ION 330 NetTop with, we will be posting quite a few stand-alone benchmarks.  To make things a bit more interesting we will include a few benchmarks from miscellaneous motherboard reviews and show how this unit compares to a desktop system.  That being said, there is really no comparison between a desktop board, chip and graphics cards and the energy efficient hardware inside this unit. 

On the next page we'll get into subsystem testing as we carry on though the review.